Downsizing your home for retirement: 4 things pensioners need to think about first

Downsizing your home for retirement: 4 things pensioners need to think about first

Many pensioners are thinking of downsizing to get some extra money for retirement. Before you do anything, consider these important factors.

lovemoney staff

Mortgages and Home

lovemoney staff
Updated on 9 March 2023

Millions of Britain's workers in their 50s and 60s are at risk of retiring with insufficient funds set aside for their retirement.

Some five million people could find themselves short of income when they finally end their careers, a study by the Pension Policy Institute revealed last year.

As a result, many who do indeed fall short will need to find other ways of raising funds in retirement.

No doubt downsizing will prove a popular consideration.

A mass sale of large family homes would be great for the housing market, freeing up properties for second-steppers who are struggling to make the leap to a bigger property and therefore also putting more small properties on the market for first-time buyers.

But would downsizing be a good idea for the nation’s pensioners, or could they end up regretting their move?

Here are four things to consider before you put up the 'for sale' board.

Will you make enough money?

The main reason many people downsize is to release money to help fund their retirement, but you may well be kidding yourself about how much you will make.

A 2018 report from Royal London found that moving from the average detached home to a semi-detached property would free up around £113,000.

This sounds like a lot, but it equates to an annual retirement income of around £5,700 a year assuming average life expectancy.

And, of course, with inflation soaring, the real value of that pot will likely diminish with each passing year. 

Think about all the little costs

You also need to consider all the costs involved in moving home.

Once you’ve factored in the legal fees, Stamp Duty, removal costs, surveys and estate agent commission how much will you be left with?

It costs around £12,000 to move home, according to Lloyds Bank, with that figure leaping to £30,000 if you are moving within London.

Where will you move to?

 If you’ve lived in the same area for decades, do you want to stay there or do you want to move nearer to your children or escape the city?

Think about where you would want to live and research house prices there.

Also, don’t forget to consider your social life.

You don’t want to downsize to a cheaper area in order to maximise your gains only to find yourself cut off from your friends and family.

While you’re at it, think about the services you will need now and maybe later on in life.

Spending your retirement in the countryside may seem like a great idea, but how good is the public transport if you need to stop driving?

Where is the nearest hospital or chemist?

You don’t want to end up having to move again in a few years and paying all that moving money twice.

Can you find a suitable retirement home?

You’ve thought everything through and picked your ideal retirement location, but are there any suitable houses there?

The reason your current home is worth so much is because Britain is in the midst of a housing crisis and there is a particular shortage of retirement properties.

There are just 720,000 retirement properties in the UK, that’s enough for just 7% of Britain’s pensioners.

Make sure you do your research and ensure there actually is a suitable property in the right area, that you could move to before you consider downsizing.

Then take the time to do your sums carefully so that selling your family home will actually free up a meaningful amount of cash.

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